The Lewis Science Center is finally getting a much needed and long overdue makeover. Not only is the outdated, leaking roof going to be replaced, but a 50,000-square-foot expansion will also be added to the existing building. The three-story addition will consist primarily of laboratory space and will include teaching, learning and research areas that will allow for flexibility to accommodate current and future teaching methods. “For us to stay ahead of the curve in terms of science instruction, research, and community service, we absolutely must have upgraded facilities,” said Dr. Steven Runge, executive vice president and provost. The new laboratories will offer proper floor to ceiling heights required for modern equipment, as well as significant improvements in equipment efficiency and energy utilization leading to LEED certification. A key feature of the expansion will be a new, state-of-the-art digital planetarium.
The Lewis Science Center was built in 1965 as a 53,000-square-foot, single story, flat roof structure. It houses the dean’s office, the Department of Biology, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the university’s planetarium and observatory. A 62,000-square-foot, two-story expansion was added to the north side of the structure in 1987. The groundbreaking for the newest expansion will be in spring 2015, and it will be ready for students in January 2017.